IFES Statement on the Passing of Bunny White and Fred Furth
The Board of Directors and staff of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) mourn the passing of Gladys “Bunny” B. White, wife of the late IFES founder Clifton “Clif” White, on May 5, 2018, at the age of 102, and of IFES Board Member Frederick “Fred” P. Furth on May 12, 2018, at the age of 84.
Furth was founder and partner of The Furth Firm LLP, a nationally known San Francisco firm specializing in antitrust and business litigation since 1966. He was the lead counsel in various multi-district litigation and national antitrust class actions.
Prior to establishing the firm in 1966, Furth worked in the Antitrust Division at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.; was a former associate at Cahill, Gordon, Reindel & Ohl, in New York City; served as counsel for the Kellogg Company in Michigan; and was an associate for then-Mayor of San Francisco Joseph L. Alioto in California.
Furth was the founder of Sonoma's Chalk Hill Winery, an avid pilot and a generous philanthropist. He was chairman of the Furth Family Foundation.
He was also founder (1992) and chairman of International Judicial Conference, a conference of Supreme Court Justices from around the world and was profiled in Time Magazine’s "Are Lawyers Running America?" Furth’s work was published in the DePaul Law Review and the University of Pittsburgh Law Review.
Furth was a Board member and funder of the Center for Democracy’s early efforts in the former Soviet Union. When the Center merged with IFES in 2003, he joined the IFES Board of Directors and generously funded many IFES events and activities in addition to shaping the strategic vision of the organization.
“Fred was a unique, unpredictable, irrepressible, loveable force of nature,” said IFES Chairman Ken Blackwell. “I will miss him dearly.”
“It was exciting to be with Fred. One never knew what would happen next. Whatever you expected was a bit too quiet or too conservative. He was an awesome surprise artist,” said former IFES Chairman Peter Kelly.
Obituary from Fredericksburg.com
White, known to all as “Bunny” or the Energizer Bunny, served on the IFES Board of Directors and shared our vision of a world in which strong democratic institutions empower citizens to have a voice in the way they are governed.
She was the only child of British immigrants, was born in Toronto, Canada and moved to Cleveland, Ohio in her younger years. She then moved to Ithaca, New York, where she finished high school. At a time when many women were precluded from higher education, Bunny graduated from Ithaca College at 19 with a bachelor’s degree in music. An accomplished musician, she was always the life of the party, playing the piano for all to sing along.
She met her husband Clifton while teaching music in Earlville, New York. For Clif, it was love at first sight; and on the first day he saw her, he told a friend he was going to marry her. In June 1940, they were married, and shared a wonderful life full of family, friends and interesting political adventures over their many years together.
She taught music in the Westchester County school system and wrote community musicals in Rye, New York. She was the adult choral and handbell director at the Rye Presbyterian Church, where she served as an elder and a deacon. She was very involved in her community and charitable organizations. In 1973, Clif and Bunny moved to Greenwich, Connecticut, where she continued her community and church activities and supported her husband in all his political endeavors.
In 1993, Clif passed away, and Bunny moved to Fredericksburg, Virginia. She lived in Summerlake and was the social chairman for several years. She continued her work with charities and community organizations, and was honored as Paul Harris Fellow by the Stafford Rotary. She attended Hope Presbyterian Church, where she was an elder, and conducted the handbell choir. She continued on her musical path by starting a choral group in Summerlake, the Summerlake Singers. Her legacy lives on in the music she taught to so many generations.
An avid traveler, Bunny was always ready for the next adventure. For her 100th birthday, she completed her second transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2. One of her most beloved vacation spots was St. Thomas, which she visited for the last time in 2016 to celebrate her 101st birthday.
She had a lifetime of experiences, and loved to share these trips with family and friends. Always on the go, always involved, she had a full life, well lived.